Ladyhawke di­als back the synth

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Music - JAR­RAD BE­VAN

SYNTH- POP made her a star but Ladyhawke wants some­thing dif­fer­ent for al­bum No. 2.

She grew up on ’ 90s rock and cites the Smash­ing Pump­kins – and their ran­dom gui­tar so­los – as an in­spi­ra­tion.

She calls out alt- rock­ers like the Pix­ies, Nir­vana and Brit- pop­pers Blur as her in­flu­ences.

She says she’s turned her back on synths, but it’s not true.

As it turns out, the New Zealand- born star has merely di­alled back her dreamy, twin­kling, ’ 80s in­flu­ences in favour of in­die- rock.

This fuzzy in­die- rock is very sim­i­lar to the fuzzy synths she worked to per­fec­tion on her hit de­but.

What is dif­fer­ent is the amount of pop she is push­ing into the mix this time around.

Half of the ma­te­rial on her self- ti­tled de­but sounded like ob­vi­ous hit sin­gles. They were ra­dio- friendly tunes but still un­de­ni­ably cool.

This al­bum has fewer lows in terms of qual­ity, which is good and con­sis­tent – but there are also fewer highs.

Hid­den at the al­bum’s back end is the ti­tle track, a jaunty and up­beat tune with a se­ri­ous un­der­tone. Ladyhawke was di­ag­nosed with Asperger’s syn­drome a few years ago and she holds noth­ing back on Anx­i­ety, singing about how she needed med­i­ca­tion just to get out of her house in the morn­ing. ‘‘ Show me how to hide the voice in my head,’’ she sings. Her last al­bum’s lyrics were hon­est but this one turns up the dial.

Van­ity sports one of this al­bum’s bet­ter basslines, which van­ishes and re- ap­pears at the mercy of a hazy melody. It has ra­dio writ­ten on it in per­ma­nent marker, a rocker with an elec­tronic un­der­belly.

Blue Eyes is a good ex­am­ple of her love of crunchy gui­tars. Its messy solo is charm­ing and leaves the lis­tener want­ing more.

Sun­day Drive feels like it was writ­ten with David Bowie playing in the back­ground. It’s wist­ful and sweet one minute and then crazy flash­ing lasers the next.

The brash, buzzing noises might ac­tu­ally be an­noy­ing on a car stereo but they’ve been pur­pose built to de­stroy fes­ti­vals and sta­di­ums.

When Ladyhawke turns in slow burn­ing, sim­mer­ing, nos­tal­gic alt- pop tunes, she is at her best. Girl Like Me and

The Quick and the Dead are prime ex­am­ples of her sul­try, kind- of- de­tached, al­most- French vo­cal style in full swing. Th­ese are the songs that’ll make folks reach for the re­peat but­ton.


Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.